Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual's ability to cope. As an effect of psychological trauma, PTSD is less frequent and more enduring than the more commonly seen post traumatic stress (also known as acute stress response). Diagnostic symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the original trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, and increased arousal—such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger, and hypervigilance. Formal diagnostic criteria (both DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10) require that the symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Signs and symptoms:
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include the following:
Persistent reexperiencing of a traumatic event
Resultant numbness, avoidance, and hyperarousal
Resultant clinically significant distress or functional impairment
Symptoms should be present for a minimum of 1 month following the initial traumatic event.
In addition, the patient’s general appearance may be affected by PTSD. Individuals may appear disheveled and have poor personal hygiene. Individuals with chronic PTSD may present with somatic complaints and, possibly, general medical conditions. Special attention should be paid to the patient's sleep hygiene.
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